But those books itched at me. I woke up the next day, thinking about them, so rang the shop up to make sure they were still there (they were) and drove over and bought them. I read them all at a sitting, transported back to a time when I imagined that all I needed to live a happy horse-filled life, ever after, was the overwhelming wish to do so.
But we were then in the middle of one of our perennial crises with our expensive millstone of a house, and money needed to be made, so I decided I'd try selling the books on eBay. I knew absolutely nothing then about the rarity or otherwise of pony books - though to be fair, neither did anyone else. An American collector described to me how she'd come over to Hay on Wye in the 1980s and bought a container-load of pony books - the dealers couldn't push them her way fast enough, because they couldn't sell them.
The Americans were ahead of us in the UK, and I sold all of those books to American collectors, for sums that astonished me then. There's money in pony books, I thought. And so I started selling books.
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